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Brooklyn Rebellion Dogs: Dog Park Friends


a blogumn by Shante Paradigm

Tilo and Sadie on a playdate

I love my dog. Actually, I love all dogs. So the morning dog park ritual is especially joyous and fun for me. Not only do I get to watch my little guy run around, sniff and attempt to eat trash out of the bins (Tilo’s taken to jumping in the trash can to pull out food), I get to interact with scores of dogs and people. We call each other “dog park friends.” It’s actually become quite a little community with organized bowling trips, dinners, TV watching, dog swapping, ice cream trips. One of my dog park friends and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last Wednesday. This is truly the kind of neighborhood-based community I’ve always wanted and it has been facilitated by a 52 lbs, brindle boxer-hound male dog.

Last week, we had Tilo’s pal, Sadie (10 month old female hound mix) over for a playdate. It was great! They wore each other out by playing with toys, tug of war and basically chomping on each other for 10 hours. They left me alone to work and I was able to leave the house without Tilo crying because he had to go in his crate all alone. As a matter of fact, they voluntarily would play in the crate and lay there together. There were many cute moments.

Part of the communal aspect is helping each other out, whether it’s with ideas for a good dog diet (Tilo is fully raw: whole chicken thighs, beef hearts, cow/pig’s feet…and yogurt), sitting (Tilo still has some street issues, so only highly-skilled and patient people can take him) and socializing our dogs and ourselves. My dog is a dog lover. He loves to play and he loves attention. I’m finding that he seems more and more content as long as he gets time with his “friends.”

It’s been almost a year since I adopted Tilo on August 1st, 2008. Over this year, I’ve been totally frustrated and absolutely awed and in love. Last Friday, I had Tilo’s trainer, Dawn, come for a visit and session. She couldn’t believe his progress and stability. He still has a long way to to, but he has come so very far. After letting me know I was being a perfectionist, Dawn reminded me how great Tilo is being and how important it is to keep up the training. Tilo’s given me so much: new friends, a deeper connection to the neighborhood, a bit of notoriety for his crazy antics, many moments of laughter, happiness and pure love. I could never thank him enough for the wonderful way he’s changed my life.